“I can’t do this! I just can’t do this,” I said from the narrow alcove leading onto Stage Right. This was the third night of our performance of The Real Inspector Hound and only a few feet away I could hear Brad, as Mrs. Drudge, speaking his lines bringing my cue closer and closer. My heart pounded in my chest like the speakers in an 18 year-old boy’s car. “What happens if I just can’t do this?” I asked the Universe. “You will leave your good friend in the lurch on stage with no one to try and pull a pair of flippers off,” came the hasty reply. (I was standing in the wings wearing diving flippers. Don’t ask. Unique interpretation of the play by our Director.) Knowing I just could not leave him out there alone was the only thought that thrust me from my tiny closet in the wings onto the stage.
Having been an Opera Singer, Hound was the first play I had been in, but not my first time on stage. This would be my last time though. I was done. I just didn’t have the nerve or the desire to be up there under the lights with thousands of eyes staring at me anymore.
I remember five years earlier when my Graduate Advisor at UT had asked me “Is there anything else you’ve ever enjoyed?” He was asking because after killing myself working a full time job and being a full time college student to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Music, I was now giving up after three semesters and two graduate programs on the Masters Degree in Music.
Music had always been my ticket. I had always been a singer. Everyone assumed that I would sing. But here I was now after all this time floundering. Truth is, I never really enjoyed singing Opera. But I had a very high voice, and since there was no music major track at the time in Rock and Roll, I studied Opera.
Now here I was, realizing for the first time that it was time to let this dream go. This dream I had had longer than any other, except the horse I had prayed for since I was five. The one thing that I knew deep down in my core was part of what made me, me. But I was also on my own, with no family to help me and it was time to get a degree in something for once that might actually put food on my table. So that day I closed the door and changed direction.
And because of that change of direction, I met my husband:-)